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News Article

Teen People
September, 1999

The Write Stuff

Five crucial steps to crafting the perfect college application essay

1. "Don't be afraid to be honest and personal," says educational consultant Steven Antonoff, who cites topics like divorce and travel. "The more personal, the more likely you are to capture the reviewers' attention."

2. "Don't fall victim to the 'thesaurus syndrome'," says Vedant Mimani, CEO of, a Web site about college essays. "Big words aren't impressive. A clear, direct style is."

3. Proofread. Grammar, spelling and punctuation count big-time.

4. "Don't write like you think an adult would," says Antonoff. Let your own unique voice come through. It's fine to have your parents give you a critique, but trust your own instincts too.

5. Wrap it up right. "A good ending rounds out your essay," says Mimani. Showing you've grown or changed is the key. For example: If you state that a book was influential in your life, make sure you tell how it altered your outlook.